April 2001,

Volume 33, Number 4

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WSL plans for LSTA funding evaluation

The Wyoming State Library is gearing up to complete an evaluation on the impact of federal Library Service and Technology Act funds in the state for fiscal years 1999, 2000 and 2001.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the federal agency that administers the LSTA program, requires the evaluation program review and analyze educational, networking and resource sharing projects.

"The evaluation will help us to identify what successes were made and what issues were addressed using the funds," Jerry Krois, Wyoming state deputy librarian, said. "This will help to insure that LSTA's is reauthorized by Congress." The State Library receives approximately $550,000 annually for statewide library initiatives, grants to libraries and centralized services.

Important themes

The five-year plan in Wyoming focuses on three important themes: staff development and training, networking and resource sharing. A fourth theme, sub-grants to libraries, interlaced with the three primary initiatives.

Krois said the evaluation will include six focus group sessions to be facilitated in designated libraries to solicit answers to questions about the impact of the funds on local library operations, benefits of statewide projects, inadequacies or weaknesses of projects, benefits of sub-grants offered to libraries and recommendations for the future.

The six WYLD Regions will be used as models to select the six libraries. The focus groups are planned for early fall.

"An invitation will be extended to library directors and selected personnel from public, academic, special and school libraries to participate at each session," he said. "Each session will run about three hours."

The umbrella questions for which answers are needed are:

Focus groups

Through the focus groups, the consultant will ask questions to provide qualitative data and include the following:

WSL Five-year Plan: in brief

The "Five-year Plan" for LSTA in Wyoming focuses on three important themes: Staff Development and Training, Networking and Resource Sharing.

A fourth theme, Sub-grants to Libraries, interlaces the three primary initiatives.

Staff development and training addresses the evolving world of technological literacy in a profession that must also maintain a wide range of traditional library skills and knowledge.

Training of staffs in use of the modules of the shared integrated library system, e-mail use, computer literacy, the Internet and licensed electronic databases are issues throughout the entire state. Underlying the goal and strategies identified in the plan is the desire to reach many library employees to broaden their skills, resulting in enhanced ability to better serve the children, teens and adults in their community or educational setting.

Technological and human

Networking addresses both the technological and human networking important for the future of libraries. Bridging the digital divide is addressed through telecommunications and technology initiatives, primarily at the state level. This initiative ensures that cooperative decisions and actions supports ongoing public and staff access to library resources and systems.

Human networking is equally important because the technology alone does not make a library successful; planning, cooperation and commitments are also necessary in moving libraries into the global workplace. Resource Sharing addresses the theme that technology and telecommunications are not ends, but tools to connect libraries to each other, to the Internet and to information systems.

Wyoming libraries are focusing on a statewide public access catalog for residents, cooperating to deliver electronic indexes and full-text articles and continuing to build a statewide union list that was initially established in the 1970s. Sub-grants are offered to libraries to meet specific needs.

The types and fiscal amounts are small due to the state's allocation and ongoing commitment to valuable statewide efforts. The sub-grants consists of training grants to public, academic, school and special librarians, and resource sharing grants to public and academic libraries.

The underserved populations in the 12 state institutions benefit from non-competitive grants to their libraries to meet educational, informational and recreational interests of residents. The plan is on the WSL Web site at http://will.state.wy.us/admin/.

Rock Springs Library still open after much debate

The destiny of the Rock Springs downtown library has been on a roller coaster going from planned renovations to possible closure and then back to the renovations study.

Members of the Sweetwater County Commission turned their focus to the Rock Springs library in March when the library board approached the commission about a proposal for work on the library's back entrance and restrooms.

The estimated cost for the two projects is approximately $52,000, minus some in-house work already completed on the stairwell. The new projects would create a new entrance at the rear of the library and create access to restrooms in the basement.

Doug O'Brien, library board chair, said money for the projects would be taken out of the library systems' building reserve.

As written in the Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner, Ted Ware, Sweetwater County commissioner, "asked the county library board to analyze its needs carefully before putting money into renovations" at the library. He also asked board members to consider the cost of maintaining the downtown library before money is spent.

One library instead of two

"You need to consider the potential of having one library instead of two. This could happen and you need to know this," Ware said.

He said the county commission would be facing serious funding issues during the next budget session of the next fiscal year. "Our needs greatly exceed our resources," he said.

He then asked library board members to update studies about the cost of maintaining the Rock Springs Library. However, David Hvidston, Rock Springs Library Board, said the library serves as a valuable community function, and another study was not needed.

O'Brien added, that last time it was proposed the library be closed, a study was completed.

"I can't believe money spent on improving that building would be money wasted," he said.

Fellow commissioners John Pallesen and Carl Maldonado later endorsed Ware's suggestion of the library board re-examining its proposed capital improvement of the library.

Needs and requests

"I fully support Ted's actions," Maldonado said. "The needs and requests far exceed our revenues."

A couple days later, the Sweetwater County Democratic Party unanimously passed a resolution to keep the downtown library open. County commissioners emphasized they also were looking at other areas of the county budget and at least wanted the library board's request studied.

Ware also said in the Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner there was a misconception about shutting down the library. "We haven't said we are going to close the library. We are just looking at the pros and cons," he said.

On March 31, 2001, at a Sweetwater County Democratic function, Pallesen, county commission chair, said the commissioners were are not planning on closing the library. It was just one part of the budget they were looking at.

WSL ‘Statistics' 2000 publication does it by the numbers and more

Anyone who has had the opportunity to glance through the Wyoming State Library's new statistics publication should immediately recognize that the publication has changed and is no longer just a bunch of numbers left to be interpreted.

Data for the "Wyoming Public Libraries Statistics" 2000, was produced by the WSL Business office and the publication was produced by the Public Programs, Publications and Marketing office, arrived in mailboxes in early April sporting the usual numbers about county population, staff, circulation and many more categories.

However, this year, narratives from the 23 counties were included. Charts depicting certain areas are also included for a quick glance and for easier comparison.

"I wanted to produce a statistics publication that would not only be more useful to libraries, but one that would also offer a more detailed picture about the libraries than just a lot of numbers," Joe French, WSL business manager, said. French also wanted to include charts for certain categories because the charts would offer a good "visual" picture of the numbers that are compared among libraries.

County library directors furnish all of the data as part of the Federal State Cooperative System. The data is then used so national statistics can be generated.

"We've found that it's useful to send a compilation of the information to the originating libraries," French said.

"This year, in addition to the statistics for FY 00 (July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000,) we have incorporated statistics that were reported for FY 98 and FY 99 along with percentage changes from FY 98 to FY 00," he said. "Also included is a ‘snapshot' page that highlights selected statistics for each library. In conjunction with the 'snapshot' page we have asked each county library director to provide us with comments particular to their county library."

Changes in the publications content were not the only transformation for the publication.

A four-color cover was used and the book was bound using a spiral ring. French wanted readers to be able to flip back and forth between pages easily. Finally, it was topped off with a plastic cover and vinyl backing, so that it would stand up better to repeated use.

Staff in the publications office used four software programs to produce the publication. French entered the data using Microsoft Excel, and then the publications office worked with a page design using the same program. Quark, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word were then used for the remaining pages.

For next year's publication, an earlier start is planned and guides or suggestions to cover certain areas in the narrative that might be overlooked will be sent to directors.

Libraries Directory on its way

Wyoming State Library's (WSL) Public Progams, Publications and Marketing office mailed the 2001 Wyoming Libraries Directory the first week of May to all libraries that requested copies.

All information was checked to ensure accuracy; however, library staff also are asked to check their listings for accuracy. Corrections and updates received by May 16 will be printed in the May/June issue of The Outrider and corrected in the online directory. Corrections received after that date will be made to the online directory only.

Corrections and updates may be sent to: Courtney Hall, WSL publications office, 2301 Capitol Ave., Cheyenne, WY. 82002, phone, 800-264-1281 (press 1, then 6) or 307-777-5453, Fax, 307-777-6289 or chall1@state.wy.us.

New WSL board members prepare for service

The Wyoming State Library has announced its two new board members, Douglas Bryant of Laramie and Bonnie Hefenieder of Worland.

Bryant will represent Albany, Carbon and Sweetwater counties.

After approximately 23 years, Bryant retired as an attorney and is now a full-time student at the University of Wyoming obtaining a master's degree in history. He also has a bachelor's degree in political science and law, and a master's degree in community planning.

Bryant is the current chairman of the Albany County Library Board, and current vice president of the Albany County Library Foundation. He replaces Dan Kinnaman of Rawlins.

Hefenieder will represent Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties.

She works on her family farm in Worland.

Hefenieder spent eight years on the Worland school board where she received a certificate for reaching the highest level for educational achievement. She also received the Champion of Children award in 1996 from the school board.

Hefenieder also spent approximately five years on the Washakie County Library Board. While on the board, she said she helped the Worland library and Ten Sleep branch become as operational as possible on a limited budget. She replaces Anna Sapp of Lovell.

Cottam appointed to new position

Keith Cottam, Dean of the University of Wyoming (UW) libraries, has accepted the appointment of associate dean and director of the University of Wyoming/Casper College Center.

Cottam began as UW director of libraries in June 1983, and his position and title changed to dean of university libraries in Feb. 2001.

After an extensive nationwide search, Cottam was selected from more than 60 applicants.

Cottam said, "I chose to apply for the new position out of a keen interest in UW distance education programs, especially with teaching, learning and providing greater access to educational opportunity in Wyoming."

The University Libraries have been a leader in developing outreach programs and I am looking forward to applying the knowledge, skills and abilities I have acquired in the field."

Cottam said, "Very few academic library directors ever get the chance at a new career track and a different lease on personal and professional life."

"The UW/CC Center is one of Wyoming's most important educational resources, and I am eager to join the team there to get on with the important work of providing greater public access to educational opportunity in the state," he added.

Cottam will begin his new UW position as associate dean of the outreach school and director of the UW/CC Center on July 1, 2001, in Casper.

He will replace the 2000-2001 Interim Associate Dean and Director Dr. Bruce Richardson.

'Dear Mrs. G' book donated to county libraries

Libraries around the state have added one new book to their collection thanks to the Laramie County Republican Women's Club.

"Dear Mrs. G: Wyoming's Future Through the Eyes of Its Kids," is the end result of Sherri Geringer, Wyoming's first lady, challenging Wyoming's children to write an essay describing their vision of the state in 2025.

Wyoming's children have a vision of cars flying or driving themselves. One Buffalo Ridge Elementary School student in Cheyenne said the United States would have a woman president.

Each year the Republican women's club donates books to the local libraries as part of a program that was established many years ago to remember and honor former first lady Mamie D. Eisenhower.

Grants Directory in production

A new edition to the Catalog of Wyoming State Grant Programs 2001 is now in production and will soon be distributed statewide.

Compiled and published by the staff of the Wyoming State Library Public Programs, Publications and Marketing office, the catalog outlines grants from more than 25 different state divisions and highlights new grant programs this year. The target audience for the publication is municipalities, nonprofit organizations and other such entities.

Each program section includes a contact name, eligibility requirements, the dollar amount typically granted, financial and matching requirements, the sources of funding and the application deadline. Not all the state grant programs will be included in the catalog; mandatory or entitlement programs are excluded.

The publication is free to all libraries, private businesses, community organizations and government agencies. To obtain a copy, contact the Public Programs, Publications and Marketing office, Wyoming State Library, 2301 Capitol Ave., Cheyenne, WY. 82002, 307/777-6338, Fax, 307/777-6289.

Lyman Branch wins A&E 'Great Gatsby' competition

The "roaring ‘20s" and the Great Gatsby took center stage at the Lyman Branch Library, and visitors were greeted by Victrola records and a Model-A.

The Lyman Branch Library was awarded first place in the national Arts and Entertainment Great Gatsby Library Grant Competition. The competition focused around displays or programming that incorporated promotional materials for the A&E remake of "The Great Gatsby," which aired last January.

The Lyman Library display was designed by Sonya Buckner, branch assistant, and featured period artifacts from the community including a flapper dress and hat worn in the '20s by the mother of a retired school teacher, old victrola records, an old radio and books from the library collection that were best sellers in the 1920s.

A pale yellow Model-A was parked on the library lawn to advertise the "Roaring ‘20s Night," which featured live jazz music, a flapper dancer, a poetry reading of the work of Edna St. Vincent Millay and a showing of the video "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." There was a standing-room-only crowd with 98 people attending.

The competition was open to libraries across the nation. Five grand-prize winners were awarded $1,000.

The Lyman Library was among 25 other libraries that received an art deco style mantel clock as first-place winners.

"We are thrilled to have fared so well against stiff competition," Susan Worthen, branch manager, said. "We would like to thank everyone who contributed to our success by supplying artifacts, performing at the program or supporting our efforts by attending our ‘Roaring Twenties' evening."

The art deco clock will be permanently displayed at the library.

WSL, Large Print Collection offers appealing materials for many entities

Large Print logo

Wyoming libraries can add to their collection and receive new and ongoing materials every four months with a little help from the Wyoming State Library and the Large Print Rotating Collection (LPRC) program.

Collection offers variety

Each collection contains approximately 175 books and has titles in the following categories: western, mystery, romance, general fiction, science fiction and non-fiction. Even though there are currently 46 libraries in the state participating in the program, staff at the State Library would like to see more libraries and entities in the state take advantage of the free program.

"In addition to county and branch libraries, if directors know of any other entities that might want to host a collection we encourage them to call," Jan Batson, WSL library technician and program director, said. "We can evaluate requests for collections on a case-by-case basis."

Libraries can set policies

Participating libraries can set "any reasonable practice for book use," including circulation, fines, distribution, homebound service, storage or any other local policy for those books in the rotating collection.

The intent of the rotating collection program is to support local efforts to serve the patrons and communities.

Large print is for everyone

Batson also stressed that the large print collection can appeal to many different people, not just the visually impaired. Many more people are turning to large-print books, including children and teen-agers, because the books are easier to read and reduce eyestrain, Batson said.

In addition, more and more best sellers are becoming available more quickly in large print than before.

There are 39 collections of large-print books that rotate in the state, and Batson said she would like to see the collections promoted more and even used "more creatively." They can be placed in special, senior and retirement libraries.

Some counties have more than one collection at a time and then rotate the collections within their own systems. Campbell County has three collections they rotate within their main library, branch libraries and senior centers.

Large print offers possibilities

Homebound services, nursing home outreach and mail delivery are encouraged for public library participants. Additionally, each participating library is encouraged to conduct activities, as resources allow, focusing on these large-print collections. These activities could include book discussion groups, book displays, etc.

New collections assembled, rotated

The State Library continues to purchase new books for the program when funds are available. The new books are then used to assemble new collections and to replace worn or damaged books.

The large print collections are rotated on two separate routes: Libraries that are not on WYLD, and libraries that are connected to WYLD and circulate on the system.

As more libraries are added to WYLD, the rotation routes will be adapted to incorporate those libraries.

Large print shipping

The State Library purchases special boxes with cut-out handles for the Large Print Rotating Collection program. The boxes are shipped with the mailing exemption - FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND OR PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED.

Shipment of collections occurs within seven days of the first of the month.

For more information on the LPRC, contact Jan Batson, Wyoming State Library, 307/777-6330, 800/264-1281 (option 1, then 8) or jbatso@state.wy.us.

Legislative assistant key player in surplus book program

Enzi aide
Desiree Sallee, WSL systems librarian (seated) explains the WYLD CAT to Amanda Farris, a legislative assistant to Sen. Mike Enzi. Brian Greene, library development manager/library e-rate coordinator, and Lesley Boughton, Wyoming state librarian, accompanied Farris on her tour of the WSL.

For those Wyoming libraries that have received books from the Library of Congress (LC), courtesy of Sen. Mike Enzi, they can rest assured that the books will continue to be sent to the Wyoming State Library (WSL) thanks to Sen. Enzi's legislative assistant.

For those Wyoming libraries that have received books from the Library of Congress (LC), courtesy of Sen. Mike Enzi, they can rest assured that the books will continue to be sent to the Wyoming State Library (WSL) thanks to Sen. Enzi's legislative assistant.

Amanda Farris, originally from Laramie, made a special stop at the State Library in April. Farris has worked in Enzi's Washington, D.C., office for a little more than two years and oversees the LC Surplus Books Program for Wyoming.

"We go to the Library of Congress once a month and get to pick the books that will be sent to Wyoming," she said. "Sen. Enzi is very committed to the program and the health of Wyoming's libraries."

"We have been receiving books for almost two years from Sen. Enzi and LC", Lesley Boughton, Wyoming State librarian, said. "Several hundred books have been added to Wyoming library collections in all types of libraries because of the program."

Farris said Enzi is an avid reader himself and likes to focus his reading time on books about history.

She also assures the books are packed correctly – so the boxes don't fall apart during shipping, which she said has happened – and sent to the library.

"I was very pleased to have Amanda visit the WSL," Boughton said. "She has a genuine interest in the work and success of Wyoming libraries."

Farris, whose major was political science, has also interned with Rep. Barbara Cubin's Washington, D.C., office.

Entries for 'River of Words' contest flow into Wyoming Center for the Book

Wyoming's Center for the Book has received the state entries for its first-ever state level River of Words environmental art and poetry contest.

In its sixth year, River of Words is a national contest on the subject of watersheds: an area of land that catches rain and snow, which drains into a marsh, stream, river or lake. Children are encouraged to observe the natural world and express what they have learned through art and poetry.

For its first year, Wyoming had more than 400 entries in art and poetry. Three volunteers from Wyoming are judging the state contest: Judy Lissman of Torrington, and Michael Shay and Stephen Roseberry of Cheyenne.

The winning entries will be decided in late April/early May 2001.

The state competition is sponsored by the Wyoming Center for the Book (WCB) at the Wyoming State Library (WSL). For more information, contact Linn Rounds, 307/777-5915, lround @ state.wy.us or Courtney Hall, 307/777-5453, chall1@state.wy.us.

Around the State

Staff changes






From wet books to smells
State coordinator attends workshop for emergency preparedness

These are just a few of the problems Martha Hanscom, University of Wyoming Libraries, library disaster recovery coordinator for Wyoming, comes across.

She has also had calls from individual Wyoming residents who need help with damaged personal materials. Hanscom recently attended a workshop on emergency preparedness and recovery at the Bibliographical Center for Research (BCR). The April workshop covered library disaster planning and recovery procedures, and the presenter was Tom Clareson from Amigos Library Services.

Hanscom is appointed by the state librarian and has been assisting in the area of prevention and cleanup after disasters since 1984.

"I am not only available to answer questions about library emergencies," she said, but "I can also travel to the site if necessary. I keep a file of resources and lists of people to contact, so I can get answers from the experts."

Hanscom can be reached at: Martha Hanscom, Cataloging Department, University of Wyoming Libraries, P.O. Box 3334, Laramie, WY. 82071-3334, hanscom@uwyo.edu, 307/766-3044.

Hanscom recommends these Web sites for information:

Clareson is the manager of Imaging and Preservation Services. He is also available for free consultation, by phone or in person, for library disasters.

He and his company can offer disaster planning and recovery assistance before, during and after an emergency. Clareson can be reached at: Tom Clareson, Amigos Library Services Inc., 14400 Midway Road, Dallas, TX. 75244-3509, 972/851-8000, Ext. 125, 800/843-8482, Fax, 972/991-6061 or clareson@amigos.org.

"IPS is available to assist your institution with planning activities and recovery from damage caused by various emergency situations, including natural disasters, fire, pipe leaks, mold and pest infestations, construction accidents and vandalism," the Web site states. "In the event of an emergency or its aftermath, call IPS for information, guidance, referrals to local resources and on-site assistance as required."

Proof of confidence: Media specialist heads to Brazil

No regrets.

That's why Kelly Kraft, Sheridan High School library media specialist, is on her way to Brazil.

Kraft will move to Brazil this summer to become the middle school/high school librarian at Associacao Escola Graduada de Sao Paulo. Kraft became interested in teaching overseas after a friend went to Venezuela and gave her information about it. She sent her information to the University of Northern Iowa for its overseas teaching fair, and applied to schools listed on The International Educator Web site http://www.tieonline.com, including the school in Brazil, her first choice.

"They called and asked if I would fly to Boston and interview," she said. "The interview went really great. I was really amazed when they called the next weekend and offered me the job. It's such an amazing school and one of the top six internationally."

Kraft will live in Sao Paulo in the wealthy Morumbi district, which has more people than Wyoming.

"Sao Paulo has a population of 18 million," she said. "So I'll have a megalopolis experience!"

Kraft said she's excited to teach overseas, try different foods and learn Portuguese. However, she will miss SHS and Wyoming.

"''m really going to miss the students and staff at SHS, along with all the librarians statewide who have been a help to me professionally,"she said. "I think I'll miss the wide open spaces and lack of congestion. I think I'll appreciate Wyoming more when I come back (to visit)."

Kraft has been the SHS library media specialist for 13 years.

She has a master's of education with emphasis in library media and curriculum from the University of Montana.

She has a two-year contract in Brazil, and she said she probably wouldn't return to Sheridan afterward. "One of the reasons for my going is to prove to myself that I can do it," she said. "I don't want to be the kind of person who regrets not trying something new."


Three WSL employees honored for service

Three Wyoming State Library (WSL) employees were recently recognized for their years of service to the WSL and Wyoming State Government at the Administration and Information Service Awards during a ceremony on April 9, 2001.

Alta M. Hepner, bibliographic services/federal documents (top photo, left), was recognized for five years of service and Venice Beske (right), statewide information services manager, for 10 years of service.

Gov. Jim Geringer presented the awards (center).

Not present at the ceremony was Desiree Sallee, WSL systems librarian, who was recognized for five years of service.

Oh, the tales we tell

P3M office publicizes, produces publications

Editor’s note: This is the first of a six part series on the Wyoming State Library.

Every organization has a story to tell, and telling the Wyoming State Library’s story is up to the Public Programs, Publications and Marketing office (P3M).

Through news releases, The Outrider, Coming Attractions, Sage Readers, marketing packets and other forms of communication, P3M publicizes WSL programs and accomplishments.

The three-person staff also produces the annual Wyoming Libraries Directory, which all libraries in the state receive. Other sections of the library use P3M to produce printed materials, such as bookplates and training manuals. Examples of these are the stickers created to designate books purchased with the $10,000 Jeld-Wen grant and the acquisitions manual for county and branch libraries.

Through P3M staff experience in graphic design, print communication and media, Web design and public information, WSL can communicate more effectively with its stakeholders.

P3M assists Administration and Information (A&I) with service awards pictures and releases and other projects as requested.

External customer services

The Department of Administration and Information (A&I) is required by statute to produce the Wyoming State Government Annual Report.

As part of A&I, the P3M office compiles, edits, produces and distributes this document. P3M maintains a collection of clip art available for use by WSL staff, other state agency personnel and library patrons. Mailing lists, including libraries and library boards, are maintained in this office and are available by request.

P3M also prepares the Grants Catalog and brochure for the GIS Showcase.

Wyoming Center for the Book programming also is based in P3M. This includes Mother Goose Asks “Why?” Wyoming Writers’ Database, Letters About Literature and River of Words student contests.

An anthology, “Deep West: a Literary Guide to Wyoming,” is in progress. Bookmarks featuring current books by state authors are prepared and distributed, and the WCB newsletter, Sage Readers, is also produced.


Linn Rounds

The three people who are responsible for this activity are Linn Rounds, Candice J. VanDyke and Courtney Hall. Rounds is the office manager and coordinator for the Wyoming Center for the Book.

She has worked in state government for nearly 26 years starting with the Department of Transportation. She is a graduate of Marquette University College of Journalism and has spent 34 years in public information after a short stint as a reporter for The Associated Press. Linn Rounds

Rounds is a former president of the National Federation of Press Women and has been on their board for 15 years. She represents the State Library at Wyoming Press Association Associates Group, Wyoming Information Officers Co-op, Wyoming Media Professionals and YMCA Writer’s Voice Committee.

The P3M office, under her direction, has won several state and national awards including two from the American Library Association. Linn Rounds

VanDyke joined P3M in 1999 as a public information specialist.

She is the former news director for WyomingNetwork Inc., editor and reporter for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, and free-lance writer for the Casper Star Tribune.

She has an associate’s degree in journalism and multi-media from Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. She served as co-editor of the college’s Wingspan newsmagazine and was an editor for Wingspan Online.

VanDyke is currently serving as the membership director for Wyoming Media Professionals and serves as the media representative for the State Emergency Response Commission.

She is working toward her bachelor’s degree in public relations/communications through distance education programs. Hall joined the WSL in 2001 as a contract public information specialist.

She has an associate’s degree in mass media from Laramie County Community College.

She is the former production assistant for the F.E. Warren Air Force Base Sentinel in Cheyenne.

She was co-editor for the Wingspan newsmagazine from 1998-1999 and the Wingspan Online editor from 1999-2000.

P3M staff contacts:

Trustees' Corner

Library philosophy: Give back service to everyone

Something happened in a number of Wyoming counties a decade or two ago.Something happened in a number of Wyoming counties a decade or two ago.

Revenues declined so library boards and directors made some tough decisions. One tough decision was closing branches serving small and outlying communities. Today, the issue of branch service resurfaces as many of those county libraries look at a library presence to give those residents valuable services and bridge the digital divide.

But in some of those communities the local officials or volunteers have stepped in and are providing basic to good library services without interaction or cooperation with the county library.

Branch libraries: hot topic

Where does responsibility for branch libraries lie? Should some communities pay for their own library while other communities in the county get system funded to have a library?

This is a hot topic because county library systems continue to experience financial and resource limitations while residents of those small outlying communities are voicing their concerns about being on the ‘have not’ side of that digital divide.

A refresher

As a refresher, Wyoming Statutes 18-7-105(d) states “the library board may establish and maintain branch libraries, stations and other library services and facilities.” At the same time Wyoming Statute 15-1-103 enables a city or town to establish, maintain and in a manner the governing body determines provide for the housing of public libraries and reading rooms.

One can interpret those two statutes to work collectively or separately. Collectively the interpretation could be that the county is responsible for all aspects of branch libraries and that the city or town, if so inclined, can offer to provide the "housing" of the county library branch.

The second interpretation could be that each city or town can establish its own library even though there is no supporting statutory language similar to that of county libraries.

What makes sense?

An ideal environment

In the ideal environment the county commissioners should provide adequate funding so that the county library board and director can deliver library services to all communities in the county. That service could be in the form of an actual building or in the form of a bookmobile depending upon location and population.

The library board and director should work with the commissioners to integrate those stand-alone libraries back into the county system. The process or cost is not simple but if library philosophy is to give back some library service to everyone for taxes paid then readdressing the issue needs to go high on the list of things to do.

A vested interest

County libraries in Wyoming have a vested interest in seeing statewide initiatives succeed and they do succeed because of the county configuration. If independent community libraries seek to be associated with statewide initiatives then the projects become increasingly complex because of the numbers and levels of knowledge of all those involved.

To do: ‘bridge the digital divide’ for rural county residents

What challenges are still on the horizon for your library?

One that needs to be on the list is your commitment to “bridging the digital divide” for your rural county residents. The digital divide refers to the presence or absence of technology, electronic resources and expertise to offer comparable opportunities as residents in your county seat.

For more than six years, all the headquarters libraries have had an array of equipment, products and opportunities to provide Internet access to the residents in that central community.

Equivalent services

This came about with the introduction of the statewide electronic catalog and licensed databases operating on the state’s licensed telecommunications network. But a significant number of counties have not proactively addressed the technological needs in the small, rural branch libraries to give those residents the equivalent services.

Wyoming branch libraries counted

A national survey in June 2000 indicated that 96 percent of public library outlets have Internet access for staff and almost all of those outlets also have Internet computers for the public. Only a couple Wyoming branch libraries can be counted in the change of status from the 1998 survey that showed connectivity at 83 percent of the outlets.

The time to act is now so that your library shows its commitment to bridging the divide. It is not necessarily appropriate that small libraries look for linkage to the state’s network for branches due to the minimal open hours each week. But other options through Internet Service Providers or wireless possibilities in the community should enable those branches to become technological information centers for both staff and library users.

Introducing Internet access in those buildings does not require the library to automate the staff functions or setting up a row of computer stations. Taking action does mean that you are committed to ensuring that branch staff can respond to inquiries and users can have the opportunity to research through online resources.

Bridging the digital divide is a board responsibility so put action high on your priority list.